It didn’t matter how tired or hungover you were when you woke up on Sunday. Northern Invasion stops for no one.
The day started off with a cartwheel. A literal cartwheel from the singer of Joyous Wolf. Their sound was very bluesy almost to the point of being a jam band but their energy was completely rock n roll. With impressive vocals, stellar guitar riffs and more energy than anyone should have at 12 in a Sunday morning, Jiyous Wolf was the perfect start for my day.
Whitney Peyton was next up and the only rapper on the bill this year. Her bubbly personality shined when I watched her interact with other people in the media tent and they way that personality translated to her live show was perfect. Sure, she’s not rock and not metal but she had the early rising crowd jumping along to the beat.
First on the main stage was crowd favorite 10 Years.having been around for awhile now, this band has plenty of material. To choose from and they did a great job of mixing both new and old. Although I haven’t spent much time diving into their music, after seeing them live and feeling the passion in the audience, I’m sold.
I was only able to catch the tail end of Spirit Animal’s set but I loved what I heard. Their sound was a very calm indie rock vibe but still stayed enter getup. It seems like this is definitely a band that’s on the up and up and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens to them next.
What happened next is next to impossible to put into words. The Fever 333 started their stage with a white sheet concealing whatever was going on on the stage . After a couple seconds of audio of news clippings, the singer took his spot in front of the sheet with a black hood over his head. It was an ominous sight and definitely seemed to peak the interest of majority of the crowd including myself.as. The music kicked in, the white sheet fell to the ground and the crowd was treated to what I’m going to go ahead and call the best set of the weekend. The energy was insane, I watched in amazement as the singer ran everywhere he could. He jumped on speakers and even climbed the scaffolding of the stage at one point. The music matched the energy. It was fast, dirty and intense creating a truly explosive and stand out set . This whole weekend was full of great bands and music but The Fever 333 truly took the cake.
St. Croix Casino Stage
Photos by Vito Ingerto
After a quick bite to eat, it was time for Red Sun Rising in the main stage. I saw these guys a couple years ago and have watched their career grow into something huge. It’s truly heartwarming to see considering I feel they have a unique sound that deserves the attention of the thousands of people that watched their early afternoon set.
I See Stars conquered the side stage with ease after Red Sun Rising their explosive energy on stage matched the brutality of the music. With shrieking vocals to go with the shrieking guitars, I See Stars gave the crowd everything they had and, because of that, the crowd gave everything back to the band. after a quick song from duo The Blue Stones, it was time to rush back to the main stage just in time for Asking Alexandria.
Asking Alexandria didn’t have to do much to get the sun soaked crowd at the main stage going. Within the first song, the audience exploded into a sweaty mess with a constant stream of crowd surfers making their way up to the front. Their heavy yet accessible sound was a clear favorite of the enormous crowd.
Up next was Like A Storm– a band I had never heard of but judging the amount of people that were wearing their mercy, a band I couldn’t miss. The New Zealand based group to the stage to a blast of smoke and energy. Their hard rock sound filled the entire amphitheater and seemed to draw almost everyone towards them. I know that, being from New Zealand means that their trips to the states may be far and few between but I truly hope to catch these guys soon in a more intimate venue.
A personal favorite of mine- Dance Gavin Dance. With the iconic vocals ringing through the air, DGD gave a powerful set full of both old and new songs. This was one of those sets that I truly never wanted to end but I could hear something brewing at the main stage and I just had to know what it was.
Black Veil Brides was tearing it up by the time my tired legs got me to the main stage. Their intense look and sound was easily drawing thousands of people in. The music had a sense of perfection about it but still had an undeniable sense of power about it. The younger generation in the crowd seemed to be eating up their accessible metal music by the spoonful. Honestly watching the kids and how into they were getting made the set that much more entertaining for me.
Up next on one of the side stages was Anti Flag. Ive only been arrested twice and both times I was listening to Anti Flag. Their political stances and outspokenness is something thadefinitely speaks to me. The amount of passion and conviction they convey when playing is staggering. Another thing I love about this band is the way they get the crowd moving and feeling like a family. Beyond the politics, Anti Flag stands for the idea that music is family and that is something I definitely can get behind
Monster Energy Main Stage
Photos by Vito Ingerto
Continuing my journey through my childhood, Hawthorne Heights was next on the other side stag. T hey kicked off their short set with some oldie but goodies which instantly transported me back to my angst emo years. I’m not saying that I miss those days but watching this band play those songs was absolutely amazing.
The crowd seemed a bit weak for Hawthorne Heights but that makes since considering just two sings in, Stone Temple Pilots was kicking into their set on the main stage. The flawless sound just proved why this band is as big as they are. It sounded as if I was listening to a recording but with a hell of a lot more energy. With the way the crowd was cheering for this group, I could easily see them headlining a fest like this. Their perfect sound and electric energy were just what I needed to help me get through my late afternoon slump.
The Used are one of those bands that i have stuck with through the years. Every time j see them it’s like a religious experience and today was no different. With the sun directly in the singers face, The Used powered through a set of mostly old songs with a couple of new ones thrown in. Regardless of what song they were laying, I found myself lost in my happy place just listening to the music and feeling the energy.
The party man himself, Andrew WK was next. I call this guy the party a because that’s exactly what he is. He likes to party and party hard but has a very positive outlook on everything. Having met him a little bit before the set, I could tell that this wasn’t just an act. The giant smile he sports open stage and the near ending energy is just whole is which led to an amazing set.
After a couple of songs from Andrew, it was time for my final walk to the main stage. Second to last on the giant stage was Alice in chains. Although I didn’t grow up on them like many people did, this was a bit of a bucket list item for me. Their music definitely still has a very old school vibe to it. It’s laid back and chill but still very your face. There’s also a sense of modernism to it that is clearly the main reason to band has stayed so relevant for so long.
Closing out the final day of this brilliant festival was the one and only Tool. Honestly, these guys need no introduction. If you’re at all involved in the rock scene you know who they are and you know the amount of power they have. To was my first time seeing this legendary band and I think I finally get the hype. Their set was explosive and powerful while keeping a sense of emotion and talent about it. They weren’t trying to be the loudest band or the fastest, they were being them in all their glory and that was the perfect way to end this crazy weekend.
Go to a festival. Attempt to see every single band. It’s exhausting. You’ll get sunburnt and your feet and legs won’t work when it’s said and done but I promise you it is worth it!
Bud Light Stage
Photos by Vito Ingerto